… And when might come the last trip day,
and the ship that never shall return were ready to depart,
aboard lightweight luggage you will find me,
almost naked, like the children of the sea.
(Antonio Machado, “Retrato” –translated by me)
Antonio Machado was one of the greatest Spanish writers, not only by his writings, but because of his exemplary behavior. Always beside the people and deffending democracy, signing manifests for fair causes (against the Italian invassion over Ethiopia, for the liberation of Antonio Gramsci, against the tortures on the 34’s prissoners by the revolt…): he always was a convinced Republican. When Spanish Civil War begins, he has his position real clear: he shall stay beside People and Democracy, and he shall work for that. Writing poems and prose, some of them denouncing the fascist crimes (against the assassination of Lorca, against the children dead by German bombs…). When in 1937, the government of the Spanish Republic move into Valencia, all the writers and intellectuals are moved to Valencia too (by governmental order): Machado lived and worked there, sad, not only by the events of war, but for the separation of his beloved Guiomar, and a deep sadness because his brother Manuel was a sympathizer of the Francoists. At the end of the war, he was living in Barcelona, with his mother Ana Ruiz and other of his brothers, José, and, as the insurgent troops were approaching to town, they were forced to abandon the town and the country. At the fall of January, Antonio leave Barcelona, accompanied by his mother and brother, and by writer Corpus Barga, with many others of exiled: civilians, politicians, intellectuals and wounded soldiers that overcrowded the roads to France. At January 28, the Machado family with other exileds arrived to Colliure: Antonio will die the February 22, and three days later did his mother. Machado was buried wrapped with the flag of the Spanish Republic, and his coffin was carried by four soldiers. Actually, his grave is still there, and get several showns of respect, admiration and affection.
In 1976, journalist, producer, criticist and writer Antonio Gómez, in collaboration with songwriter Antonio Resines (not to be confussed with the actor), set a project, half musical, half documentary, about the Spanish exiled after the Republic was defeated: songs about Spanish men and women on the French Resistance or in the nazi extermination camps (that, many of those, were build by them), and the real testimony of many of these persons. The album was Cantata del exilio (¿Cuándo llegaremos a Sevilla?) –The ballad of Exile (When will we arrive to Sevilla)-: the subtitle makes a reference to that that Ana Ruiz, afflicted by senile dementia, was saying during the journey, convinced in her mind they were moving back to Sevilla, her land. Gómez wrote all the songs, and made of narrator, meanwhile Resines sung the most of them, but not only. Many songwriters participated singing some of the songs. Teresa Cano sung the song about the death of Antonio Machado:
Muerte de Antonio Machado
Con el polvo cansado
de tantas caminatas,
don Antonio Machado,
envuelto en la bandera de la patria,
entre cuatro soldados,
al borde del camino,
con la madre, Ana Ruiz,
y con José, el hermano,
sin pluma y sin fusil,
desnudo como el viento,
bueno con el amigo,
frente al infame, honesto,
con el único abrigo
de la tierra en silencio.
- Que no se detenga nadie, que aquí no ha pasado nada.
Simplemente un ataúd de madera, virgen blanca,
y dentro un español que vino a morir a Francia.
-Que no se detenga nadie, que aquí no ha pasado nada.
Simplemente una cruz de madera, virgen blanca,
entre la carretera y el mar, en la arena de la playa.
Que nadie pregunte nada. Que a nadie le importa nada.
Death of Antonio Machado
With the tired dust/ of so many rambles,/ exhausted, beaten,/ don Antonio Machado,/ wrapped with the flag of homeland,/ between four soldiers,/ at the side of the road,/ with mother, Ana Ruiz,/ and with José, his brother,/ without quill and without fusil,/ naked as the wind,/ right to the friend,/ in front of the infamous, honest,/ with the only covering of the soil in silence.// –May nobody stop by here, nothing has happened here./ It’s just merely a wooden coffin, white virgin,/ and inside it a Spaniard who came to die in France./ –May nobody stop by here, nothing has happened here./ It’s just merely a wooden cross, white virgin,/ between the road and the sea, on the beach sand./ May no one ask nothing. Because no one cares at all.
Lyric by Antonio Gómez
Music by Antonio Resines
Sings: Teresa Cano
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Other lyrics of the album, by our Italian friends: